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Apple fails to satisfy requirements set by ACM

Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements set by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) regarding payment systems for dating-app providers. ACM has come to this conclusion following an investigation into Apple’s statements of January 15, 2022. This means that Apple now has to pay ACM the first penalty payment of 5 million euros.

Apple must adjust its conditions for access to the Dutch App Store for dating-app providers. In the App Store, dating-app providers must also be able to use payment systems other than Apple’s payment system. In addition, dating-app providers must have the ability to refer to payment systems outside of the app. This had been laid down in an order subject to periodic penalty payments that ACM imposed on Apple in August 2021. On December 24, 2021, the court ruled that this part of the order could be published.

What is the matter right now?

Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements on several points. The most important one is that Apple has failed to adjust its conditions, as a result of which dating-app providers are still unable to use other payment systems. At the moment, dating-app providers can merely express their ‘interest’. In addition, Apple has raised several barriers for dating-app providers to the use of third-party payment systems. That, too, is at odds with ACM’s requirements. For example, Apple seemingly forces app providers to make a choice: either refer to payment systems outside of the app or to an alternative payment system. That is not allowed. Providers must be able to choose both options.

What are the next steps?

ACM has informed Apple that its statements do not satisfy the requirements laid down in the order subject to periodic penalty payments. Apple is still obligated to act in accordance with said order. If it fails to do so, Apple will have to pay each week a penalty payment of 5 million euros up to a maximum of 50 million euros.